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Titans Post-Draft Press Conference

Posted Apr 27, 2013

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(opening statement)

We wrapped up an eventful three days.  Three days where I think we helped ourselves on both sides of the ball.  I felt great about the way everyone worked together – coaches, scouts and everyone involved.  There are a lot of people that are involved in the draft that put in a lot of work from the video team to the assistants to really a big group.  I was real pleased with how everyone worked together.  Right now our scouts are in the draft room going through the craziness of undrafted free agency which is always fun.  We drafted a few guys today that I think will help us and I’ll answer any questions you have.

(on Khalid Wooten and Daimion Stafford)

Khalid Wooten – we are trying to get some big corners with speed and he fit that mold.  He has good toughness and good ball skills and has interception production.  He was on our board where the value was good for us to take him.  We brought him in here on a visit so he met everybody and that went pretty well.  Daimion Stafford is somebody who is a physical, downhill safety that we think can play back as well.  His calling card is going to be his physical nature and how he hits, 220 pounds.  We liked him and have for some time.  We feel good about him as well.

(on how Wooten compares with third-round pick Blidi Wreh-Wilson)

They both probably would be best in press, but then they have both played off so they are similar in that way.  Wooten is a thicker guy, 210 (pounds).  Maybe there could be safety in his future someday, as time goes on.

(on if the picks feel well for who they wanted this year compared to previous years)

That is accurate.  There are always those guys that you have your mind on and they go before you.  It fell pretty well this year and it was good.

(on if they have maintained the momentum they started with free agency)

We do and I think we have worked really hard as a group and we have had a good plan on the type of guys we wanted to bring in and what we were looking for.  We tried to bring in players that are going to fit what we want to do offensively and defensively so we are on the same page with our coaches.  So yeah, as the plan continued the momentum continued and we feel great about it.

(on what he saw in Lavar Edwards)

He is a big, athletic man.  The two guys he was playing behind are very good football players obviously.  He made the most of his time.  He was productive when he did play.  His traits, his size and speed, kind of fit what we are looking for at a defensive end at that time.  He was a good fit that way.

(on if it was hard to evaluate Lavar Edwards based on his playing time)

Not really, I mean he had all-star games and he did play. He played significantly. We saw him on film, so no, it wasn’t that difficult. Anytime you do that you are just looking for, OK, what’s his size and speed and really what is his athletic traits and does he have those. It’s like when you are evaluating a guy from a small college sometimes. You say he is not going against top competition, but you can still see the physical traits. That really doesn’t change no matter who you are playing against or how much you play.

(on seeking players with playing experience who can offer consistent production)

Typically, that is what we are always going to be looking for. I mean, I would probably be a little less, you might say an upside guy you know. I always try to think about OK, what’s the ceiling,  what’s the floor in a player and usually those guys who have played a lot and have production, have good floors.

(on common traits of players selected in this year’s draft)

Well, I think we have improved ourselves from a size and speed standpoint. I think all those guys pretty much have that and you know. We wanted to look for physical guys and players that could run and players that have size. I think they all pretty much fit that mold.

(on how much better he feels the team is better than at the end of last season)

I think Munch (Mike Munchak) and I talked and we feel good about it. We feel good about where we are as a team right now. You never know until you get everybody out on the field and kind of see how it all works. There is a lot of water to go under the bridge until the season, but we had a plan. We worked together on the plan, and I think we were able to kind of get it done like we wanted to.

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on if he expects a competitive off-season and training camp)

It should be. I think you have heard us say that here quite often since we have got this process started in January and February when we got rolling. I think we do. I think when we have had a couple of years to put a staff and group together. Three drafts now, since I have been the head coach, so you get the chance to bring in the kind of guys you want in free agency. This past year, we did the same, so yeah we think we have definitely created in almost all the situations where we have upped the talent level. I think these guys will push each other which will be good for the whole team. Definitely, since I think the season ended we have done a really good job as a group, as an organization, put some great people in this room. I think the players saw that last week when they came to town with the changes we made in free agency. This group of eight guys here will also do the same, I think came in with a lot of talent, speed. I think the question is how quickly will they help us. But I think a lot of guys have the ability to do that right away.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on if he expects the situation on this year’s team to be the most competitive in his tenure as general manager)

I do. I think that was something that was real important for us. I think it is a way for us to get better as a team if there is competition day-in and day-out for jobs. So yeah, I definitely feel that way and that was a goal.

(on if the team’s aggressive action in the offseason was necessary or part of his philosophy)

I think it was necessary. I think every year is different in how you handle it. It depends on your team and where you are as a team. As for the move up for (Justin) Hunter, that was just something sitting out there for us. We felt like it was something we really needed to do. Overall, the aggressiveness we had this offseason was driven by the need to improve the team. There are probably different ways to do it every year depending on where your team is it can be a little different. This year that was necessary.

(on if positive feedback from media and fans is important)

What really matters in the end is that it all kind of works out. It’s nice right after the draft and right after the offseason that everybody feels good about what you did because we put a lot of hard work into it. I think in the end, the important thing is how this team continues to develop as a competitive NFL football team this year, next year and in the future. You have to keep the big picture in sight.

(on if not taking a defensive tackle is a sign that there is strong depth in that position)

We like the guys we have. Sometimes it just doesn’t fall exactly the way you want it to as well. We like who we have. After this weekend, Mike (Munchak) and I will regroup and look at the areas where we feel like we need to shore up or add a guy here or there. I think it’s something you have to do. I think you have to continue to scout and look at your team and make sure where you are and where you need to be going into training camp.

(on if there was a position he hoped to address in the draft, but did not)

We looked at some other spots. We looked even adding a little bit more competition in adding to the running back spot. For the most part, we were able to pretty much do what we wanted to do.

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on being consistent in selecting types of players)

I hope you are going to see the consistency. We’re mentioning about having good competition, but when I say good I think we’ve got a talented group of guys. I think we’ve got guys that can make plays for us. On Sunday’s, that’s how you win in this league by being consistent and making plays. I think we’ve done a good job of putting those kind of guys together. Like Ruston said, there is a lot of work to be done here. I think we have the pieces in place here as far as the talent in this room. We have an eight week program left now. We just have one week behind us. We have the next phases to go. We are now coming together as a football team. We are now seeing that competition happening. We are kind of seeing how these guys blend as we get started on the field, guys getting to know each other and starting the competition part at this next phase and obviously the training camp and preseason. We are expecting obviously good things. That’s our job this time of year to make this football team better. I think we’ve done that. Now, it’s up to the coaches and myself and the staff to take them to the next level and make these players better football players than they are right now. I think we have the type of talent here that we can do that with. That’s what is exciting about it. That’s what hopefully the fans are excited about. We are trying to do the right things. We are trying to make good decisions with that. Like I said, bring in 90 guys in here for training camp and come out with 53 that are ready to roll out to Pittsburgh.

(on if he feels more comfortable with the offensive line)

The group we ended up was still kind of some comedy in that of some of the different groups we had together at the end of the season because of all the injuries. We went out and got what we felt was the best guard in (Andy) Levitre in free agency that was available. That’s going to be a good player for a long time. Getting Chance Warmack in the first round, the guard that we feel has a great career ahead of him. Going out and signing some free agents in (Chris) Spencer and (Rob) Turner. We have a nice blend of youngsters. Getting a center from Cal today also. I think we done some stuff. We have a nice blend of two rookies along with some nice veteran leadership and the tackles that have been here. We have a chance to build something special there. My background is you win football games because of the guys up front. If we are going to be an offense to take over the time of possession and do the things we want to do, it has to happen on the offensive line. That’s the challenge. We have to play a lot better than we did the last few years on offense and I think it starts up front. We put a lot of weapons in place to be able to make plays. Again, it starts up front. Now, it’s getting those guys working together and getting the right five guys together and building something that can stay together for a long time like we’ve done here in the past, with a quarterback that can benefit from that. It’s all coming together at the right time. These guys have an opportunity to be together for a long time and be a very good football team. Now it starts in making that transition into the next group. Who’s going to be the center and who’s going to be the right guard and get all of those questions answered and get the best five playing like Bruce (Matthews) mentioned earlier today.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on how he wants guys to react to competition)

I would hope that these guys make their living being competitive. I wouldn’t expect anything other than everybody to rise up and compete. I think that when you get this far it’s hard to get to the NFL without having a competitive nature that would make you want to work and battle for a spot on this team.

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on Khalid Wooten and Daimion Stafford)

I like the speed. I like the way they make plays on the ball. I think that the physcialness of Stafford is what I like. The way he hits. We talked about that and brought in Bernard Pollard. He was that type of safety that we have here that brings a lot of the same type of intensity to the line of scrimmage by being a physical football player and also a good special teams player. He brings that to it. Wooten, I thought he did a great job making plays on the ball. I think even when he is in a bad spot he does a great job of catching up and knocking the ball loose, knocking the ball free. That stood out to me when I watched him. Obviously, we had a chance to meet both of these guys. We had them in for visits. That made it easier to make those selections.

(on if Jake Locker is in the best position to be successful)

I think it’s not just because of the players that we have brought in around him but just the fact that he feels healthy now. I think he realizes that last year at this time we knew going in it was going to be a competition; it wasn’t a certainty who was starting the season this time of year. I think that is behind us. He knows he’s in charge. He knows he’s the guy. The offense has changed. It’s going to change in a lot of ways than what it has been in the past which I think will make him more comfortable in what he is doing. A lot of pieces are in place, yes, to make him comfortable and to help him do a better job and have the offense play better than we have the last year. Yet, you need talent to do that. You can’t win on Sundays if you don’t have talent. I think that is what we have been trying to put together since the season ended and get big players like Jake, like the receivers, like the line and how you are going to step up and make plays when the time comes. That will be the challenge in the future. I think we are happy with the direction that we are headed in. We have a lot of work ahead of us to prove that we are putting together something special. The players know that and we know that. The next step will be just like I said, in the next eight weeks of getting better acquainted and putting this team together.

(on if he wants Justin Hunter to get bigger)

I think a lot of these guys in general usually get bigger when you come into the league. It’s just a different mentality, a different way of eating. Coach Steve Watterson, I think he’ s probably one of the best assets we have when a player comes in here for what he can add to a player’s flexibility, to his strength, to their conditioning and to their size. I think those are things we sit down with these players as they come in the building in the next couple of weeks and have those kind of conversations. Do we think it’s better for them to be a little heavier, get a little stronger? Those are all things we will do and that will happen very easily if that’s what is necessary. Just like Chance Warmack on the other end, we will find a weight that he is best at and most comfortable to play at. It’s more once we see these guys work out, what kind of shape they are in and other things. That’s just part of the process as we go forward. So I think that when you look at numbers, that’s why you don’t get stuck in numbers a lot of times. It’s more about how they are producing on the field and what you are seeing when they play. The numbers don’t always tell you a guy’s certain weight, that he is going to play a certain way. It’s a lot about weight strength and field strength. That’s part of the process which will be fun going forward.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on if any undrafted free agents were signed)

Nobody has officially signed. But I know that Jack Doyle has committed to come to us. Nobody has officially signed yet.

(on how many undrafted free agents they expect to sign)

I would say 10-12.

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on when rookie orientation will start)

It will be two weeks Friday, probably two weeks this past Thursday. That way they can stay and we will do a little rookie orientation like we have before with the rookies only. Then the rookies and rookie free agents will join in the veterans for the last six weeks of the offseason program.
 

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